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The Hitchhiker's Guide to Europa

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • General : What NationStates is all about.
  • Gameplay : How to play.
  • Politics : How the politics work.
  • Technical : Troubleshooting, tech talk, and general help.
  • The United Nations : Ready to step up to the international stage?
  • Etiquette : How to avoid the wrath of admin.

PS: I'll be posting more useful hints, tips, links soon.


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  • 2 weeks later...

I've decided to post'm again here, it's easier this way..




So what is this?

Jennifer Government: NationStates is a nation simulation game. You create your own country, fashioned after your own ideals, and care for its people. Either that or you deliberately torture them. It's really up to you.


Is it really free?

Yes, it really is.


Is it a serious political thing, or just for fun?

Well, you can play it either way. NationStates does have humorous bent, but that's just because international politics is so inherently funny.


Who's Jennifer Government?

Jennifer Government is a novel by Max Barry, on which NationStates is based. The book is set in an ultra-privatized world, of the sort you can create in NationStates, if you're mean enough. For more information check out www.maxbarry.com.


Why did you make this?

Because it seemed like a fun idea, and a way to let people know about my novel Jennifer Government. With luck, some of the people who play NationStates will buy the book. Then my publisher will think I am a left-field marketing genius, instead of a chump who blew four months on a web game when he should have been working on his next novel.




How do I play?

Click on the Create a Nation link and follow it from there. You'll be asked to choose a name for your nation, a motto, a national animal, and a currency. Then you answer a short questionnaire about your politics. This will determine what sort of nation you end up with: authoritarian or permissive... left-wing or right-wing... compassionate or psychotic... you get the idea.


Once a day, you'll be faced with an issue, and need to make a decision as to what to do about it. This determines how your nation evolves.


Do I need to provide my e-mail address?

No, although it's recommended. If you don't supply your e-mail address and you forget your password, there's no way to get it back. This means your nation would be consigned to limbo for all eternity. Think of your poor people.


What will you use my e-mail address for?

Nothing devious. Originally it was to mail you updates about your nation. Then two thousand people signed up to the game in the first two weeks and this became impossible. Now it's only used for United Nations purposes (see below). It's possible that I will use it in the future to announce news relevant to NationStates and my novels, but if so, I promise that it will be very infrequent and I'll allow you to unsubscribe. You won't get spammed.


How do I win?

Ah, but what is "winning," grasshopper? There is no way to win as such. Which is better, a left-wing civil rights paradise with no money, or a right-wing economic powerhouse where the poor are left to fend for themselves? (That's a rhetorical question.)


One way to succeed, at least in a sense, is to make it onto the top rungs of a United Nations report. These are compiled once per day, one for each Region and one for the entire world. Nations are ranked on anything from economic strength to the most liberal public nudity laws (the UN has a lot of time to fill in). There's a certain glory in making it onto one of those.


Which region should my nation be in?

It's up to you. New nations begin in the Pacific, but you can move out. You can even start your own region. This is a good idea if you're playing with a few friends: create a region and all move there. To do this, visit your current region's pageand click the link that says, "Tired of life in (your region)? Then move to a new region!"


Unless your nation is a member of the United Nations, its region only determines which daily rankings list it appears in. For UN members, however, region is more important (see the "United Nations" section of this FAQ).


I don't agree with any of the options on this issue!

Dismiss it, then. This is the equivalent of ignoring an issue until people stop talking about it and there's not so much pressure to do something. If you were a real government, you'd do this all the time, of course, but in NationStates it's more interesting if you respond to issues by actually making decisions.


How do I go to war against another nation? Or trade?

In one sense, you can't. NationStates doesn't include these things -- because it's a simple game, and because they would bias things in favor of militaristic and capitalist nations. One of the nice things about NationStates is that you can craft a nation into your idea of Utopia without having to worry about such pragmatic concerns as national defence.


Into the breach, however, steps the NationStates community, which has independently devised an entire system covering war, trade, and just about anything else you can think of. This takes place entirely on the forums (mostly in International Incidents), and is role-played.


Many people have asked about the possibility of a more sophisticated version of NationStates, with trade, military conflicts, and more. This does sound cool, but I haven't decided yet if I want to do that. It would be a lot of work, and I'd have to charge people to play it. But it's possible.


Who wrote all these issues?

I wrote the first thirty, back in the days when I thought nobody much would be interested in playing a political simulation game. I imagined NationStates as the kind of game you might stumble across, have fun with for a week or two, then move on. Then this entire community just popped into existence, as vibrant and dedicated as any on the internet, and it became clear that 30 issues just weren't enough. Rather than devote the rest of my life to writing them, I decided to ask players to submit their own issues, and let the moderators edit them into a form suitable for use in the game. That's the current system: new issues are constantly entering the game.


If an issue has been written by a player and/or edited by a moderator, it says so whenever you view that issue. If it doesn't credit an author, it's by me.


How do I manage my region?

The person who created a region is known as its "Founder," and can access a page called "Regional Control." This allows him or her to set the World Factbook Entry, password-protect the region (to make it invitation-only), and eject troublemakers. Regional Control is also available to UN Delegates, although the Founder can disable this.



Isn't this "simulation" biased towards your politics?

Very possibly. Not intentionally, though. And since there's no ultimate measure of success or failure in NationStates, any bias shouldn't affect much. For example, you don't win the game by having the strongest economy. It just means your nation has a strong economy.


Why is my nation so weird?

Everything is exaggerated a little. Well, okay, a lot. Your decisions affect your nation very strongly, so your country might seem like a more extreme version of what you were aiming for. Unless you have radical politics. In which case you probably think nothing's wrong.


My decision had unintended consequences!

Yep, that'll happen. For one thing, see "Why is my nation so weird?" above. For another, pretty much every decision you make will involve a trade-off of some kind. It's kind of an exercise in choosing the best of a bunch of bad options. You might find this frustrating, especially if you're the kind of person who thinks the solutions to all the world's problems are obvious.


Is my nation left-wing or right-wing?

The left/right scale isn't used in NationStates. Because it's one-dimensional, it's not a very accurate way of measuring your politics. NationStates has three main scales: personal, economic, and political. In each case, you can be authoritarian (moral, or restrictive) or libertarian (liberal, or laissez-faire). For example, someone with left-wing politics might want high levels of personal freedom (e.g. no drug laws, gay rights), low levels of economic freedom (e.g. taxes, welfare), and average levels of political freedom (e.g. compulsory voting at elections). A libertarian might prefer high levels of freedom on all scales. An authoritarian might want the opposite.


These three scales determine your nation's UN Category (see below).


Are those three scales the same as Civil Rights, Economy, and Political Freedoms?

Not exactly. "Economy" in particular can be strongly affected by other factors. But they're pretty close.


How is my nation's UN Category determined?

On each of the three main scales (personal, economic, and political), your nation is ranked as having high, average, or low amounts of freedom (or permissiveness, if you want to look at it that way). From this it is assigned one of 27 possible labels.


My nation is "the Free Republic of Bruteland," but the UN says I'm a dictatorship!

You can call your nation whatever you like, but it doesn't make it true. The UN categorizes nations based on their laws, not their names. Changing your name from "Dictatorship" to "Republic" (or anything else) has cosmetic value only.




Something's not working--what should I do?

First, scan this FAQ to see if the problem is addressed there. If it's not, see the Known Problems page.


If you have a non-technical problem, visit Getting Help.


My decisions on issues aren't being processed!

Decisions aren't processed immediately: it takes time for them to become law. How quickly your decisions are implemented depends on how many you choose to receive per week. If you receive one issue per weekday, your decisions are only processed five times per week, too.


You can change this in your nation's "Settings".


I'm not receiving new issues!

If your nation already has five unaddressed issues, it won't get any more. You need to dismiss some first. Once you do that, you'll start to receive one new issue per weekday (or whatever time period you've set in your nation's "Settings").


If that's not it, make sure you don't have "Vacation Mode" enabled in your nation's "Settings".


I didn't receive my UN e-mail from NationStates!

First, check your nation settings and make sure that you have entered an e-mail address, and that the address is correct. If it is, your e-mail is probably being blocked by an anti-spam filter. This might be something in your e-mail client, but more likely is a program running on your ISP's server. Anti-spam filters aren't perfect, and so sometimes block e-mail from NationStates. Unfortunately there's not much you or I can do about this.


I'm going on vacation--what should I do?

In your nation's Settings, check the box marked "Vacation Mode" and click "Update Settings". This will stop your nation from receiving new issues and grant it a longer grace period before it gets deleted for inactivity: 60 days.


How do I delete my nation?

You can't. I decided it's better to have people upset because they can't start over with the same nation name than people upset because their nations got accidentally deleted.


If you don't log your nation in, it will be deleted automatically in 28 days.


My nation has vanished!

Are you sure? When you search for or try to login a nation, you must enter its name (e.g. "Mynation"), not its full title (e.g. The Republic of Mynation). The latter simply won't work.


If your nation really is gone, there are two possible reasons why. If you haven't logged it in for 28 days, it will have been automatically purged. Otherwise, a moderator may have removed it for breaching the site's rules.


You can submit a requestfor the moderators to restore your nation. You do not need to supply your password -- the name of your ex-nation is sufficient. You will need that password to log in once it has been restored, though.


Do I need to have Javascript and Cookies enabled?

Yes. Web browsers generally have these enabled by default, but some people prefer to turn them off. NationStates uses both JavaScript and Cookies extensively, and the site won't function properly without them.


Someone has taken control of my nation!

It is against the rules to hijack someone else's nation, and if we see someone do it, we'll ban them. If we don't see it happen, though, and someone changes your password and e-mail address, I'm afraid you're on your own. As far as the game is concerned, your government has been overthrown in a coup.


To prevent people accessing your nation, turn off auto-login if you use a public computer. You should also choose a password that is not easily guessable.


Historical note: before version 1.5, posting a hyperlink with a PIN code in it could allow someone to log in as your nation. This is no longer the case.


How does auto-login work?

Auto-login stores a cookie on your computer so that when you return to NationStates, you are logged straight in as your nation. This is handy if you're the only person using your computer. But if you're not, you should turn auto-login off (via your "Settings"). This means you'll need to log in manually each time you visit the site.


Note: clicking "Logout" does not turn off auto-login. Next time you visit the site, you'll be auto-logged in again. The only way to turn off auto-login is to change your Settings.


How do I get a custom nation type?

Nations with populations over 500 million can write their own pretitle. Others, however, must choose from the drop-down menu.


The United Nations

What's the United Nations?

The UN is the world's governing body. It proposes and votes on resolutions, which are then binding on all member nations. In other words, it's a hot-bed of political intrigue and double-dealing.


Your nation can join the UN, but it's not compulsory. As a non-member, you are unaffected by any UN decisions. So if you're happy looking after your nation and don't want to dabble in international politics, don't join up.


If you're ready to take your nation onto the world stage, though, the UN is for you.


So I'm a UN member. Now what?

The UN is your chance to mold the rest of the world to your vision, by voting for resolutions you like and scuttling the rest. However, it's a double-edged sword, because your nation will also be affected by any resolutions that pass. (You can't just obey the resolutions you like and ignore the rest, like real nations do.)


The first thing to do is inspect the current UN resolution at vote (if there is one). If you agree, vote for it; if you don't, oppose it. Depending on how ardent you feel, you can also debate the issue in the forum, or wire telegrams to other nations.


Second, you can endorse other UN members, which is a way to signal that you like their policies, or their leader, or their cool flag, or whatever. The nation with the most endorsements in each region is appointed Regional Delegate (see below), and gets to wield additional influence.


Finally, you can propose your own resolutions. If approved, these go in the queue to be voted on by the entire UN. You may, however, be required to possess a minimum number of endorsements first.


How come some nations get more votes than others?

Regular UN member nations each get one vote. Regional Delegates, however, get an additional vote for every UN member in their region who endorses them. This can makes Delegates from large regions quite powerful.


Delegates also have the unique ability to approve proposals, deciding which of them will become resolutions to be voted on by the entire UN, and which are silently dispatched into the night never to be heard from again. A proposal needs 6% of all Delegates to approve it to become a resolution.


How can I become a Regional Delegate?

Gain the support of other nations in your region. This is obtained via endorsements: once per day, the nation with the most endorsements in each region is appointed Regional Delegate.


You need at least 1 endorsement to become a Delegate.


How do I endorse another nation?

First, note that you can only endorse another nation if:


You are a UN member

They are a UN member

You are located in the same region

If all these are true, the nation you want to endorse will have an "[Add Your Endorsement]" link in its United Nations Activity section. Click that!


How do I approve a proposal?

You must be a Regional Delegate. If you are, then you will have an option to approve proposals when you view the list. By allowing unapproved proposals to fall by the wayside, Regional Delegates make sure that the UN only votes on worthy issues.


I have more than one nation. Can they all join the UN?

No. You may only have one nation in the UN at any given time. To enforce this, UN member nations must supply an e-mail address.


What if I sneak them in using other e-mail addresses?

First up, don't. This is against the rules, and other people will be annoyed with you when they find out. It's a low, underhand thing to do. And the chances of getting caught are pretty high: the game uses four different methods to detect cheaters.


Nations that rort the UN in this way will be expelled and prevented from re-joining. If you do it with multiple nations, they'll all be deleted, including your main nation. If you're especially annoying, you'll be banned from making any new nations, too. But don't make me do that.


Can I make a UN resolution to add war to the game?

No. Well, you can, but I'm still not going to add war. The UN is not there to request new game features. I admit this would be nice: propose a change, vote it through, and BAM! The game gets better. But then, I would have to make the BAM! part happen, so this won't fly. It would require me to spend so much time rewriting game code that I wouldn't be able to pursue my real passion, which is earning enough money to buy food, and staying sane.


UN resolutions are a way to bring all member nations into line on a particular issue; be that environmental, democratic, free trade, or whatever. Don't suggest game improvements there. They just clutter up the place. And they make people think, "Hey, yeah, that would be cool! Why doesn't that bum Max Barry get off his ass and do that?" I get e-mails.



It's free speech, so I can post whatever I like here, right?

Ahahahaha! Hahaha! Free speech! No, it's not. I run this web site, see, so you have to play by my rules. It's like my own Father Knows Best state.


What can I post?

You can discuss and argue about almost anything, so long as it's vaguely relevant to politics or NationStates and doesn't fall into any of the categories below. You don't have to be politically correct, but you must maintain a minimum standard of behavior.


What can't I post?

Any content that is:


- obscene

- illegal

- threatening

- malicious

- defamatory

- spam


This applies to your nation's name, motto, and other customizable fields, any messages you write, images you post, or any other content you upload or link to NationStates. If you do, your nation will be deleted. See the site's Terms & Conditionsfor details.


Also prohibited is the practice of "griefing." Griefing is playing with the primary aim of annoying or upsetting other people. If you do this, the game moderators may take action against you.


Another player posted something offensive!

People get offended at different things, so first make sure it falls into one of the above categories. If it does, please report it to the game moderators using the "Getting Help" page.


Because our moderators are players who have volunteered to help out of the goodness of their hearts, please deal with lesser disputes without involving them. For example, if someone spams your regional message board, your region's Founder or UN Delegate can eject them.


Can I steal another player's nation?

No. This is fraudulent behavior and breaches the site's terms & conditionsditions. The same applies to any attempt to impersonate another player, including attempting to hack nation or region passwords.


Can I invade other people's regions?

Yes. The practice of "region crashing," where a group of nations all move to a region with the aim of seizing the UN Delegate position, is part of the game. Certain groups within NationStates are particularly adroit at this, and can attack very quickly.


Once I've taken over a region, can I eject everyone else?

No. Region crashing by itself is a legitimate tactic to seize power, but ejecting large numbers of nations is griefing. It can be a fine line between region crashing and griefing. Players who enjoy launching invasions should take care to stay on the right side.

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  • 1 year later...

Welcome to the Introduction Area


The Introduction Area was created so new nations can introduce themselves (duh). Feel free to post some information about your country, its history, its geography,... or even the weather... whatever info you want to share with us.


Some useful tips for this part of the forum:

- Please create one topic per nation.

- Fill in your nations name in the 'subject' of the thread.

This'll make it much easier to find your thread back. Thank you!


Oh, and don't be surprised if some of the locale natives welcome you to the region... That's just a local habit. laugh.gif

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  • 7 months later...
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